You prepared a 30 minute presentation and when you arrived it was reduced to 20 minutes. What would you do?
First, don’t say a thing about your time being cut. Whining only diminishes your professionalism and does nothing to endear you to the meeting planner.
Second, take time to connect with the audience. Skip this step and it doesn’t matter much what you say.
Third, nobody but you knows what you DON’T say. This means if you have PPT slides for 30 minutes, skip the PPT and just stand and deliver.
Fourth, when you deliver a potent presentation in a short time, you’re seen in a much more favorable light then those who had more time. Take advantage of your positioning.
Fifth, watch the clock so that you can end your presentation with a powerful call to action without rushing the ending. And do not end with Q&A, that kills your power close and you’ll most likely run over.
And finally… know that this challenge comes up on a regular basis. Be ready for it and enjoy the game.
Thanks for the LinkedIn question that got me thinking about this frequent speaking challenge.
After testing hundreds of methods to recall the audience’s attention, the best and most respectful way I’ve found is to do the following:
1) Set up in advance the amount of time that you expect for the audience to be in discussion or exercise. “You have three minutes. Go!”
2) For longer exercises, ask, “Who needs another minute?” This gives them a warning to wrap it up. (Thank you Sarah Victory for that one.)
3) Bring the exercise to a close with, “Please end your conversation in ten seconds.” Hold the esses because that sibilance will cut through the noise.
4) Count slowly to 10 and say, “Thank you!” Ninety percent of the time, the audience will be quite and attentive.
5) For the 10% of the time when they aren’t, say “The question is…” holding on to the sibilance and repeating until you have their attention.
At a meeting of 600 rowdy sales managers, I used this method to bring them back to attention. It was so effective the VP jumped on stage, grabbed my mic and said, “Why won’t you quiet down like that for me?”
The reason why this works so well is psychology. Adults must complete their thought before being able to shift their attention. Giving them 10 seconds lets them do that. Cutting them off before with other techniques used in school or Scouts treats them like a child (who also wants to complete their thought) and is disrespectful of their thought process.
Have you ever noticed that comedy clubs pack the audience as tightly as possible? Sure, it’s about maximizing revenue in the space, yet more importantly, people laugh louder and longer when they’re close together. Comics are funnier in a packed house.
The same principle applies when you’re delivering “Aha’s” as well as “Haha’s.” It’s hard to have an energetic, dynamic, and interactive speech when your audience is spread throughout the room. For the most impact, you need to have them sitting together.
If you have control of the room before the audience arrives, you can block off the back rows with masking tape, or use Reserved signs.
But if you don’t have that luxury, the secret to getting a group to gather at the front of the room is to increment them through the process.
If you ask them to just move up in the room, 20 percent will and 80 percent will stay put. Any additional coersion may result in a resistant audience.
Instead, say, “Everybody please stand up.” Wait until they are standing. “Please pick up your things.” Wait until they pick them up. “Please move to the aisle” Wait until they are in the aisle. “Please walk to the front of the room.” As they are walking to the front say, “I’ve discovered that you can get the most from a meeting like this when you set next to someone you don’t yet know. So pick a new partner and take a seat at the front of the room.”
Watch the audience come alive and you’ve got the energy and engagement you need to have a great event.
If you’ve been following my blogs, you know that I’m good at repackaging and re-purposing my content in many different ways.
I have lots of versions of my speeches: audio, video, books, guides, cheat sheets, bundles, emails, blogs, and so forth. Some of it I give away, some of it I sell, and along the way I find customers who want me to create new content for them or deliver a speech for their group.
Earlier this year, I attended a webinar by Tom Antion (one of my speaking heros, see more about him in this blog). He gave me even more ideas on how to repackage my content.
I thought I was good at it, but Tom is the master. It was all I could do to not to tell others what I learned from him.
When Tom offered me the the rights to the webinar transcript, I jumped on the opportunity and said yes on the spot.
I’ve decided to give you access to it instead of selling it as New Years gift to my friends and colleagues who want to learn about how to make more money from their ideas.
You’ll get 43 pages of great ideas and resources you can use to repackage your content. Feel free to share it with others that you think would benefit. Or just send them to this blog posting.
And let me know about the new products you create! I wouldn’t say no to a review copy.
Click to download the Repurposing Book.
One of my favorite resources for professional speaking ideas and tactics is Tom Antion. I’ve known Tom for a couple of decades and he always has great ideas that are practical, instantly usable, and don’t require lots of technical knowledge to implement. Click here to see some of his speaker products.
And he gives away tons of great ideas on his various websites. If you choose to take one of his in-person courses, you get to come back for a refresher for free for life. Tom is just that kind of guy. Check out http://www.amazingpublicspeaking.com/
You can get more ideas at http://www.greatspeaking.com/ where you can sign up for Tom’s complementary e-courses.
Best yet, Tom shows you lots of ways to make money at speaking. Here’s a special report on how to use on-line shopping carts to sell your ideas to your audience. I’ve been using this system for years.
Check out this great video on three ways to engage your audience and then browse the hundreds of videos Tom has on YouTube.com.
This is an audio program I did a number of years ago to a group of people who wanted to know how to become a paid professional speaker (that’s a tautology). You might find the ideas useful and complimentary to the “Get More Speaking” audio that I’ve posted.
Click to download HowToMakeItAsAProSpeaker.mp3
A hero of mine, Patricia Fripp is a consummate professional speaker who keeps giving back to the speaker community. She has regularly written a information-packed ezine for more than a decade with valuable tips and tricks accumulated through her illustrious career and collected from her exceptional colleagues. I think there’s even a tip or two from me.
I always find her writing inspirational with practical ideas for always improving and keeping a competitive edge.
Subscribe at http://fripp.com/newsletter.html
One of my favorite resources for ideas and practical business-of-speaking tips is SpeakerNetNews.com.
There are years worth of archives and articles with a compendium of solutions to common–and not so common–problems faced by professional speakers and trainers. This includes virtually every aspect of the business from speech content to travel, from vendors to meeting planning, all from real life experiences from real professional speakers. Sign up for their regular ezine to get ideas delivered to your email in box.
Almost every issue contains an idea that I can use or that sparks another idea that improves my business acumen. Access to the site is free and there are hundreds of hours of audio created by successful professionals that you can purchase for download. I’ve never been disappointed by the quality of the content of any of the presentations that I’ve bought.
What useful speaker resources have you found?
I’m Mark S.A. Smith. I’ve been a professional speaker since 1989 when I started my first publishing and training company. I average more than 60 speeches or training events a year.
Often, people ask me about becoming a professional speaker, or more frequently put, “I want to do what you do.” Over the years, I’ve accumulated resources and made recordings about how to do this based on my experience and observing the industry for best practices.
I’ll use this blog to post those resources and update you with ideas that I find useful. I’m always interested in your ideas, thoughts and questions.
Prosperous and happy speaking!
To kick things off, here’s a recording I made 15 years ago advising two insurance agents how to speak at local events to find new customers and get lots of practice.
I’ve included the forms that I used to book the speeches and follow up after the event. This can seriously short cut the time needed to get going. In fact, if you follow these ideas, you can be speaking in a couple of weeks.
Let me know how this works for you and enjoy it!
Click to download GetMoreBizBySpeaking.mp3
Click to download GetMoreBusinessJustBySpeakingOutlineandForms.doc